Disney+ has a wide library for customers to venture and enjoy. Maybe even too wide. Whilst fans of the House of Mouse can bask in the glory of finally having access to some of Disney’s best, there are a number of films and TV shows on this platform that are problematic. Like that weird uncle/auntie or cousin you have to see during the festive holidays, but don’t really talk about the rest of the year?
And just as how every person has a skeleton in their closet, so does Disney+. Some of these picks simply have not stood the test of time. Whilst some of these content are loved by many, let’s take a dive into the controversies of these top 9 shows on Disney+ that Disney possibly prefer you avoid for…reasons. As in, they are available but maybe you don’t have to watch it.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Whilst considered a piece of feminist media, the experiences on set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is anything but. The show looks at a teen named Buffy who is trying to make it through high school as a vampire slayer. The show sees many lead female characters overcome challenges and grow in power and influence. The show too addresses growing pains as a teenager and it resonated with not just female viewers, but all teen audiences. Whilst Buffy, Willow and the rest of her friends slay demons and behead monsters, it seems like the real monster lays behind the cameras.
Director Joss Whedon’s feminism translates in the series he made, but had no application to his real life. Over the years, cast members have begun coming forward to inform the public and the show’s strong fanbase of the abuse and sexual harassment they faced whilst filming the show. Stars Sarah Michelle Geller, Michelle Trachtenberg, James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter have each have had traumatic alleged experiences with the director that ranges from verbal abuse, mocking of religious beliefs, pressures for abortion when an actress gets pregnant and inappropriate behaviour.
The allegations against Joss Whedon continues. Firefly is a highly rated sci-fi series when the show came out, and it was subsequently discussed that the cast and team behind the show dealt with a toxic and abusive work environment. Whedon has been named cruel by many people in the show and he takes alleged joy in making female writers cry at work.
Still, we cannot recommend this show enough, even though star Nathan Fillion’s on-set issue with his subsequent co-star, Stana Kanic, in Castle, has been well documented.
Forget Disney princess. What about the Queen Mother? Only OG geeks would know that the only queen to have reigned supreme is the Hive Mother from the Aliens franchise. Nestled under the STAR banner, it’s a tad disrespectful that Disney has decided against crowning Aliens under the same section as say, Frozen, Mulan and Beauty and The Beast. She’s a Queen dammit, and her babies are now Disney Princesses!
JoJo Rabbit is one of those films that you have a weird love-hate relationship with. The movie is a satire piece on Nazi Germany and the holocaust. Whilst the film greatly mocks Adolf Hitler and the loyalty of his Nazi followers, the film has been deemed offensive to some as it tries to evoke joy out of a terrible time in history and forces the audience to empathise with an anti-Semite.
Whilst the big reveal of the film is that the child soldiers of Hitler’s are not Nazis but instead brainwashed children who didn’t know better, the message glosses over the true horrors that Jews faced under Hitler’s rule. It’s a good watch regardless, just that the word “Nazi” and “Disney” is an association that might be sensitive to some.
Love, Victor is yet another queer tv media that aims to center the LGBT community. Whilst there are many concerns that the community has with the series – from being called ‘The emotional gay teen drama no one needs right now’ to the frustrating representation of all queer kids living in misery due to their sexuality – the big YIKES! moment is when Disney tries to push the show off Disney+ and onto Hulu, citing that the film is inappropriate for the family-friendly platform.
Thankfully, the buck ends right now and the show is actually prominently featured under the STAR banner.
What’s not family-friendly about a young boy in love with another boy? We see Troy and Gabriella fight, breakup, makeup and makeout in all three High School Musical films so why does Love, Victor get awkward vibes?
The show is still worth a watch and please do watch it if you have STAR on your Disney+ service.
Every geek would see this movie coming on the list. Despite having 15 long seasons of source material, Dragonball Evolution is the worst cartoon adaptation geeks have seen in their entire lifetime. The film had 0 connections with the anime except for the name of the characters. The movie saw zillions of blunders and the characterisation of the characters were everything the original wasn’t. Dragonball Evolution is criminally bad, there’s a reason why fans only give this movie a 1-star rating.
Lady and The Tramp
Whilst a classic movie of Disney, the platform has quietly removed the movie from Disney+ kids profiles due to racist stereotypes of Chinese people. In a scene, a pair of Siamese cats put on exaggerated “Chinese accents” (whatever that means) and featured slanted eyes. The film is only accessible with an adult account and receives a ‘Negative Depictions’ disclaimer at the start of the film.
The Muppet Show
Another series that has received a ‘Negative Depictions’ disclaimer, The Muppet Show has the Confederate flag in its episodes and includes negative depictions and mistreatment of people or cultures, including the problematic depictions of Native Americans and Middle Easterners.
Other classics that have received similar ‘Negative Depictions’ disclaimer and have been removed from Disney+ Kids Profiles include Dumbo, Peter Pan, Aristocats, The Jungle Book as well as The Swiss Family Robinson.
Keeping in line with forgotten royalty, Anastasia is right on the list. The beautiful magical musical drama featuring a girl trying to reconnect with her family after losing her memory travelling across Paris and fighting an evil villain whilst she’s at it deserves to be deemed a Disney princess. Dead family? Check. Big musical hit? Check. Now a property of Disney? Check. If there ever was a checklist of princess attributes this would be it.
Whilst Disney has been a big part of many childhoods and has grown as an organisation since, let’s not forget these lessons. Some of these shows and classics in this list are some favourites of consumers (unlikely for reasons that are supportive of racism, homophobia and misogyny), it is important to hold corporations accountable and ensure that audiences are well-informed of the issues that Disney once portrayed. Much of these transgressions are often a sign of the times at how some attitudes were acceptable back in the way and that means there’s room to change.
Big corporations with huge influence over its audiences need to be socially responsible. Here’s to being more transparent and inclusive. No more skeletons in the closet.